Low-Dose, Long-Term, Intermittent Interferon-alpha-2b Therapy after Radical Treatment by Radiofrequency Ablation Delays Clinical Recurrence in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus-Related Hepatocellular CarcinomaSakaguchi Y. · Kudo M. · Fukunaga T. · Minami Y. · Chung H. · Kawasaki T.
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kinki University School of Medicine, Osaka-Sayama, Osaka, Japan
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Objective: To assess whether or not interferon (IFN) therapy prevents recurrence, and eventually improves the prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after completion of radical radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy. Methods: Included as the IFN group in this study were 24 patients in total, who received radical RFA therapy first, followed by medication with IFN-α2b at such a low dose of 3 MIU × 2/week for as long as possible. On the other hand, the control group comprised 33 patients in total, who received radical RFA therapy without subsequent treatment with IFN. The control group was matched to the IFN group in age, platelet counts and size of nodules. Results: Of the 24 patients treated with IFN, only one patient showed sustained virologic response. The median tumor-free period until the first recurrence after radical RFA therapy was 3.4 years in the IFN group and 1.4 years in the control group (p = 0.02). During the first 3 years after commencement of IFN administration, the cumulative recurrence rate in the IFN group was found to be lower than in the control group (p = 0.01); however, with the lapse of time over 3 years, the recurrence rate in the IFN group increased. There was no difference in the cumulative survival rates between the IFN group and the control group (p = 0.25). Conclusion: Subsequently after radical RFA therapy, long-term, low-dose, intermittent IFN therapy successfully delayed clinical recurrence of HCC.
© 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel
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